Letter From The Elephant



I am the elephant in the room. You know that phrase, of course. It means an obvious truth that is ignored or not acknowledged.

I am used to being ignored. Lots of very smart people use very smart arguments to avoid having to deal with me. I find it very funny. Why are they so shy of me?

But let me explain what I am doing here. This guy, Suman, has written this book that you are about to read. He claims that his task is to spot the elephants in the room and help others spot them too. So basically he is turning the spotlight on me.

Suman is trying to say that marketers have these pet theories and they cling on to them even though they are wrong. He has identified 10 of these theories-10 elephants in the room, he calls them-which he tries to debunk.

Well, I don’t like this spotlight on me. Here I am sitting comfortably in the room, not being disturbed by anyone, watching with amusement as the marketers try to step gingerly around me. And now, Suman is trying to get me out of here.

So I have a plan. I am going to make fun of Suman. I am going to argue that he is wrong and there is nothing wrong with the elephants in the room. It will be fun to see who wins.

Enjoy the book. Suman has written all the boring, serious stuff with case studies and things. I have written all the fun , cartoony stuff. We are on opposite sides of each issue. It is up to you to decide who is right.


Marketing Unplugged is an interesting blend of wisdom, experience and insights, distilled by a master craftsman into an easy-to-use toolkit and garnished with real brand stories. Suman calls out the elephants in the room and shows you how the old rules of marketing have become irrelevant. A fun read. Totally unputdownable.

Prakash Iyer

Former Managing Director of Kimberly-Clark Lever Author of ‘The habit of winning’ & ‘The secret of leadership’
Here is a refreshing book that every marketer must read. It tells us how quickly the science of marketing has fallen behind the times, and what we have to do to prevent the marketing elephant from turning into a dinosaur. Suman Srivastava writes with conviction, and he tells his wonderful stories with great passion. The ten interesting elephants which are featured in this book are captivating, they provoke us, they reveal the traps we must avoid, and eventually they leave us with excellent insights into how we can become very effective marketers.

Harish Bhat

Author of 'Tata Log' Member, Group Executive Council,Tata Sons
The world of marketing is changing fast. Keeping up with all the changes is hard. In this book, Suman has done an amazing job of distilling the lessons of the new world of marketing into a coherent narrative. He has done this in an entertaining and lucid manner with examples from India and abroad. His discourse isn’t limited to marketing alone and he talks of history, politics, religion and sports along the way. A must read for all young marketing professionals.

Chander Sethi

Chairman & Managing Director, South East Asia, Reckitt Benckisers
Marketing Unplugged is a joy to read … and is a wake up call! The book is a remarkable balance of observation, insight, relevance, and challenge. And it does that all (thanks to the Elephant in the room) with a real sense of wit and humour …Suman makes a powerful argument that traditional marketing strategy is simply not equipped to deal with the reality of today’s reality. It is convincing that new and fresh and innovative techniques are not only needed …they are mandatory. And you will love getting to know the elephant!

Bob Schmetterer

Former Chairman and CEO, Euro RSCG Worldwide Author of ‘Leap! A Revolution in Creative Business Strategy’
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